From Where We Stand: AF3IRM Statement on the U.S. Presidential Elections

NATIONAL–The white supremacist, sexist, capitalist, and racist foundation on which the United States rests now has a new face: Donald Trump. On November 8th, 2016, the people of the United States – or rather the portion of its population afforded citizenship and who were not targeted for  disenfranchisement – took to the ballot. AF3IRM knew that regardless of the results, no matter how historic, the outcome of this election would end in a rallying cry.  From propositions to local and national representatives, votes were cast, the electoral college counts rolled in, and we were left with at least one disturbing and damning result: our nation will soon be under the leadership of a fascist, misogynistic, white supremacist.

AF3IRM remains critical of the elections, the candidates, and the elections process because we recognize that the change we seek will never be decided by a presidential election.  As we move forward, we take the lessons we have learned from President Obama’s terms in office and what we have seen in this election cycle and in elections around the world.  We have always known that the two-party political system is flawed and that one person cannot bring forth all the change we need and seek.  Some think that this was the path to change – but we hold no such illusions. Instead, we urge all to do what we in AF3IRM  have always done:  join together, be willing to take on the fight ourselves and commit to it for the long haul. There is no respite in the fight for women’s liberation- it is only through our collective movements, horizontal comradeship, and organizing that we will be free.

Indeed, we the women of AF3IRM have always known that regardless of who leads the United States there is work that must be done.  For every vote we place, there will always be a politician who works to take the power of that vote away, whether it is by blocking the passages of laws, by the appointment of unjust supreme court justices, or outright working to deny us our rights. Trump has pledged to build walls and to ban Muslims migrating to the U.S., he has committed to appoint Supreme Court justices that uphold an originalist interpretation of the Constitution,  and threatens to set back the progress made by unions to protect workers’ rights to organize and have a voice in the workplace, along with the progress made by the women’s movement including a woman’s legal right to an abortion through Roe v. Wade. The 2016 elections have made it abundantly clear that the lives of people of color, women, disabled, LGBTQ, Muslim, and the poor are secondary – that our cries for justice and freedom are more often silenced than heard.  Freedom apparently is only for those who can afford it, whose skin color offers them protection and whose bank account keeps them safe. It is for those who can pass each day not having to think about being attacked, abused, or belittled for their race, ability, sex, religion, or gender identification.

This election has amplified what we already know – that as women, especially as transnational, women of color, our survival depends on combating patriarchy and misogyny on a daily basis. We are born fighters and know that this nation has a long way before we are able to feel that our families and communities are safe, before we can raise our children without fear, before we can truly claim our bodies as our own, before we can feel safe in own skin. It is with great sadness and even greater outrage that our country has elected a President that is the embodiment of rape culture, sexual violence, patriarchy, and misogyny. The heinous rise of Trump- a man whom has been subject to multiple accusations of sexual assault, has publicly and privately  disparaged and made sexist comments about women without repercussion, and has actively campaigned against a woman’s right to choose- leaving women of color with an uphill battle. Trump is the patriarchy against which we have fought so hard.

Audre Lorde once said, “Sometimes we are blessed with being able to choose the time, and the arena, and the manner of our revolution, but more usually  we must do battle where we are standing.”  Yesterday, the battleground was set. We see in America the same kind of rhetoric being thrown around by fascist white nationalists around the world, like in the UK, France, Greece,  Poland. The misogyny is showing. The racism and xenophobia are glaring. The anger is telling. It is clear that our sheer existence and our growing movements for equality and justice threaten this beast of patriarchal white supremacy.  

But even within the hate and anger being spewed at us, we see hope. We have been pushing back against the status quo  and their anger is a reaction to the progress we have made and continue to make. Today we know where we stand and we know what must be done. We must continue to rise up, get organized, and fight like we have never fought before.  As we progress forward towards genuine liberation – and yes, we are progressing forward – we must think deeply about what it means to dismantle patriarchal violence and how to be purposeful and strategic in our work. We must continue to exercise our imaginations and dream of a society that is driven by love and compassion. We must continue to put forth our own agenda and to have our voices ring loud and clear.  

We must and will do battle from where we stand- we have no other choice. We will not let decades of progress be forced backwards. We will stand on the shoulders of women and ancestors before us, and will continue to fight to protect a woman’s right to choose – and to push for reproductive justice not just for those who have money or health care, but for all who need it. We will demand equal pay and family pay leave. We will defend the rights of workers to join unions. We will continue to fight for im/migrants, for those seeking refuge, asylum, a better life, opportunity  within our borders. There will be no wall in our name and we will demand that the mass deportations and mass detention must end.  We will support our native comrades from Peru to Canada, Hawai’i and North Dakota who fight against colonialism and for sovereignty and the protection of land and water. We will speak out against U.S. wars and occupations, public and hidden, and the militarization of our homelands, our schools, and neighborhoods. We must end police killings of the Black community and push back against police brutality. We must stop the rising percentage of incarcerated women in this country and demand justice for those neglected and abused. We must end violence against women and the genocide of womankind. We will fight patriarchy’s pernicious assumption of access to women’s bodies. We will continue to demand the end of street harassment. We will believe survivors of sexual assault. We will never stop holding those in power accountable and pushing them in every way possible to make this world more just for everyone.

Take heart, sisters. Hold strong, community. We know this nation was built with imperialism and colonialism and is sustained through our oppression. They have tried to silence us, to kill us, to divide us, but we have survived. We are still here.

We will take each day as it comes and continue to fight for our lives and for each other. For there will come one day when the battles will cease. One day our existence will no longer be under threat and we will not just live freely, but thrive with dignity. Our liberation will taste so sweet.

We urge all to remain vigilant, critical, and fired up- our future depends on it. Join AF3IRM today and every day as we continue the fight against all forms of oppression and as we move ever closer to our freedom.

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To join AF3IRM, contact our organizing director at organizing@af3irm.org or any of our local chapters:
Boston: boston@af3irm.org
Central Coast (CA): centralcoast@af3irm.org
Hawai’i: hawaii@af3irm.org
Los Angeles: losangeles@af3irm.org
New  York/New Jersey: nynj@af3irm.org
Orange County (CA): orangecounty@af3irm.org
San Diego: sandiego@af3irm.org
San Francisco Bay Area: sfbayarea@af3irm.org
South Bay Los Angeles: southbay@af3irm.org

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